Sermon 3290. God's Hand at Evening
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 1912.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 15, 1866.
"Now the hand of the Lord was upon me in the evening." Ezekiel 33:22.
PERHAPS in the special senses in which Ezekiel uses this expression, we shall not expect to feel "the hand of the Lord" uponus. God may not call us to prophesy as Ezekiel did, although in the Scriptural use of the word, "prophesy," the preacher ofthe Word is still called to deliver the message which he has received from his Lord's lips. The days of special visions andvoices and prophesying have passed away, but we can still say with Peter, "We have a more sure word of prophecy, whereuntoyou do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the day star arise inyour hearts."
I think, however, that we may use our text with some profit in other senses-"The hand of the Lord was upon me in the evening."So we will enquire, first, what hand was this?Secondly, what time was this? And then, thirdly, what teaching is there forus in this incident?
I. So first, let us ask, WHAT HAND WAS THIS? The answer is very clearly stated in the text, "the hand of the Lord." We willexamine this expression, first, in its connection with the Lord's people, and then in its relation to sinners in whom a graciouswork is beginning.
First, then, looking at this expression in its connection with the Lord's people, I remark that sometimes, "the hand of theLord" is laid very heavily upon them in chastisement. It is no unusual thing for a child of God to say, "The hand of the Lordwas upon me"-and often he has not merely to add, "in the evening"-but he can truthfully say, "All day long His hand has beenheavily laid upon me." There are some of God's children who are very frequently the subjects of His chastening, and if anyof you have come here smarting under the blows of His rod, you must not murmur, for this is the treatment that is meted outto all the rest of the Lord's family. It is through much tribulation that they enter the Kingdom, so let not any one of ustake up the lamentation of Jeremiah, "I am the man that has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath"-but let us all expectto follow in the footsteps of the flock, well knowing that-
"The path of sorrow, and that path, alone, Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown." Be not astonished, therefore, if "thehand of the Lord" is laid upon you, thus, for, "if you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son ishe whom the father chastens not?" Yet while you feel the weight of God's hand upon you, never forget that it is your Father'shand.Whatever form your trial may take-whether it is the loss of a child or of a parent, or the withdrawal of temporal prosperity,or the smiting of the body with aches and pains-the rod is never in any hand but the paternal one and even while the Fathersmites, He loves. Let this be your comfort, that it is not the hand of an enemy that is upon you-you are not suffering froma crushing blow from the foeman's mailed hand, but the stroke, whether it is heavy or light, is wholly caused by your lovingFather's hand!
"The hand of the Lord" is also a humbling hand. When God lays His afflicting hand upon us, He takes away much of our fanciedbeauty and lets us see the ugliness of our natural deformity. We thought we were very patient until we had need of patience-andthen we found what a murmuring, discontented spirit we had within us! Perhaps you, my Brother, thought you were a strong Believeruntil your present trial came. But now you have proved how feeble your faith really is. You imagined that you were betterthan the rest of God's saints because you could sing when they could only groan. But now you have hard work to keep from groaningyourself! It is a blessed thing when the blows of God's rod lay us low at our Father's feet. The safest option for all childrenof God is to lie flat upon the Rock of Ages. With all the joy and confidence that I trust we feel when we reflect upon ourLord's promises and His solemn oath and Covenant, yet
when we think of our own imperfections and unfaithfulness, we are compelled to bow very humbly before the Throne of Grace.
Turning to another side of the subject, let me say that there is no reason why the hand of the Lord should not be upon uswithout our having any particular trouble. When we have come up to God's House to worship Him, I trust that we have oftenfelt "the hand of the Lord" upon us, pressing us down very low in a sense of our own weakness and unwor-thiness. There areother things beside affliction that can humble us beneath the mighty hand of God! When Peter's boat began to sink becauseit was full of fish, Peter, too, went down and he cried to Jesus, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." When wethink of all the Lord's goodness to us, we cry out, somewhat as David did, "Who are we, O Lord, and what is our house, thatYou have done such great things for us?" If we have "the hand of the Lord" upon us in this sense, it will not crush us, nordrive us to despondency or death-it will make us realize our own nothingness while it will also give us a grateful sense ofour Lord's loving kindness and condescension in dealing so graciously with us!
Yet this humbling "hand of the Lord" is also at the same time an uplifting hand. The Christian is often a riddle to himself-hecannot understand how it is that the lower he sinks, the higher he rises! Then he sings, with Dr. Watts-
"The more Your glories strike my eyes,
The humbler I shall lie.
Thus, while I sink, my joys shall rise
The truest joy is the joy of the creature in being made nothing that God may be All-in-All-the joy of emptiness in receivingof the Divine fullness-the joy of utter weakness laying hold upon the Divine strength! Have you never, dear Friends, in theworship of God, felt His hand gloriously bearing you aloft that not merely were worldly cares forgotten, with all the thingsthat concern time and sense, but you seemed to forget that you were still in the body and that the body was upon the earth?There have been times with some of us when "the hand of the Lord" has been so blessedly upon us that He has seemed to openthe pearly gates and bid us enter! We have stood awe-stricken and yet full of joy in the Presence of the Eternal, and we haveworshipped Him with cherubim and seraphim-and have anticipated the day when we shall join the heavenly throng to go no moreout forever! "The hand of the Lord" when it is upon us thus is so uplifting that we feel as though the joys of our spiritare more than our bodily frame can bear-and we cry with the spouse- "Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I amlove-sick." May we often feel this downcasting and yet uplifting power of "the hand of the Lord" upon us!
Further, "the hand of the Lord" is a healing hand as well as a smiting and wounding one. Whenever it is laid upon a poor troubledconscience, it brings peace at once. There is no furrow in the brow which God's finger cannot smooth away. There is no burdenupon the shoulders which God's hand cannot remove. Perhaps your heart was so heavy that you thought you would never be ableto rejoice again-yet the Lord did but touch you and your depression was gone in a moment! There is an old fiction about thetouch of a royal hand curing disease, but the royal hand of the King of kings really does what the other was only fabled todo! Let Him but touch the suffering soul and healing comes at once. It is useless for us to go to war with our besetting sinsat our own charge-but when the Lord stretches forth His hand against them, it is another matter! Beloved friends may sometimesseek to set us right, yet through their lack of wisdom they may only aggravate the evil. But when God lays His hand upon thesin, drags it to the light, tries and convicts it- and hangs it up to die-then are we most blessedly delivered from it. Ifour besetting sin is a fiery temper, or a slothful nature, or a strange temptation to some other evil, may "the hand of theLord" be so graciously upon us this evening that it shall heal us even before we go to our homes!
The Lord's hand is also a strengthening hand to all His children. Let Him but lay His hand upon you and then, as your days,so shall your strength be. Isaiah trembled when he saw "the King, the Lord of Hosts," but one of the seraphim touched hislips with a live coal from the Altar, and then, in answer to the Lord's question, "Whom, shall I send, and who will go forUs?" he said, "Here am I; send me." So surely, when God touches the lips with His finger, power goes into the messenger whomHe sends forth on His mission of mercy! Moses was very hesitant to go as God's ambassador to Pharaoh-and among his many excuseshe urged that he was slow of speech, and of a slow tongue-but the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth?"-as much asto say, "He who made your mouth knew what He was doing and He did not make a mistake when He gave you a slow tongue! Go youin Hisstrength and you shall be mighty enough to deliver His people out of the land of Egypt." God worked through the weaknessof Moses and so glorified Himself over the mighty Pharaoh. And so shall it be with us, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ,ministers, Sunday school teachers, tract-distributor, or whatever you may be-if "the hand of the Lord" shall be upon us, Godshall be glorified in our weakness
and we shall be mighty through Him, to the pulling down of strongholds. Tarry in the Jerusalem of your prayer closet untilyou are endued with power from on High, for, "they that wait upon the Lord shall remember their strength"- and then in Hsnameand in Hsmight go forth to the service to which He has called you.
I may also add that, to many of you, "the hand of the Lord" is a well-known hand. You have been receiving from it all yourdays. You have gone to it thousands of times so that it has become very familiar to you. And there is one mark in that handwhich has made it especially dear to you, for, "the hand of the Lord" from which you receive everything is a nail-piercedhand, for it is the hand of the Man, Christ Jesus, as well as the hand of the Almighty God! And hard by the print of the nailis your own name, for He has said to you, "I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands." When that Divine-Human hand, onceoutstretched upon the Cross for our redemption, is laid upon us, then do we rejoice with exceedingly great joy!
Now for a little while let us look at this expression in its relation to sinners in whom a gracious work is beginning. Andhere I must remind you that if "the hand of the Lord" is ever laid upon you, then it will come, first, as a creating hand.It is the hand of God and that hand, alone, which can create in you a clean heart and renew a right spirit within you! Nothingbut the Divine touch can ever make "a new creature in Christ Jesus." If all the angels had united all their powers, they couldnever have created a world and if all the ministers in the world were to combine their efforts, they could never create anew creature in Christ! Creation is the work of God, alone, so may He graciously lay His hand upon you tonight! Though thereis nothing in you for Him to begin with, remember that He made the world out of nothing and He can make a new man of you outof nothing. It is true that your whole being, spiritually, is without form and void-and darkness is upon the face of the deep-butHe who brought order out of chaos and said, "Let there be light," and there was light, can do the same for you! May you becomea new proof His creating power, so that the angels may sing over you as they once did over a newly made world!
Yet let me tell you that wherever "the hand of the Lord" comes, it always comes at first as a breaking hand! As soon as God'shand is laid upon us, down go the images of our pride as Dagon fell upon his face before the Ark of God! And our self-righteousness,our self-conceit, our carnal confidence and everything else that is displeasing to the Most High are dashed in pieces by theblows from His almighty hand! It is a blessed thing to be put into God's mortar that He may pound us with the pestle thatHe holds in His hand until He has crushed and bruised us so as to bring us to self-despair- for then it will not be long beforethat same blessed hand of His shall bind up what He has broken and heal what he has wounded! It is His prerogative to say,"I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand." If you could go to someeminent surgeon, it would be a strong argument if you could say to him, "O Sir, I pray you to heal me, for you did, yourself,cause this gaping wound! It was by your sharp knife that this gash was made, so will you not bind it up?" So go to God, Sinner,with that poor broken heart of yours, and say to Him, "Lord, You did break it, will You not bind it up? You are Jehovah-Rophi,will You not heal me?" You know how David prayed, " Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which You have brokenmay rejoice." God is a bone-breaker and He is also a bone-mender! He is also a heartbreaker, yet He delights to bind up thehearts that He has broken! So go to Him, Sinner, and ask Him to lay His hand upon you, first breaking, and then binding up-firstkilling, and then making alive!
Further, to sum up briefly, "the hand the Lord" is a receiving hand. And if you go to Him, Sinner, He will receive you graciouslyand love you freely! It is also an upholding hand, and it will hold you up so that your feet shall not slip. It is an enrichinghand, with which the Lord will give generously to you both in Providence and in Grace. It is a guiding hand with which theLord shall direct your steps. And at last it shall be an opening hand, with which the Lord shall open the gates of Glory,that you may enter them to go no more out forever!
II. Our second question was to be WHAT TIME WAS THIS? "The hand of the Lord was upon me in the evening." There is a congruityin meditating upon this text in the evening, so let us think upon it for a while in connection with our own inward experience.
And first, Beloved, when you and I have felt "the hand of the Lord" upon us in the evening, I think it has come very seasonablyto remind us of the day's sin. Evening is a good time for casting up the sum of the day-there ought to be set seasons forbalancing our accounts. I am afraid that most us are so busy that we neglect this important duty. But it is well to devotea few minutes at night to review the day that has gone by. Recall your actions, your words, your thoughts. Look at your sinsthat you may repent of them. Look at your follies that you may avoid them in the future. Look at your mistakes that you maynot fall into them again. As you turn over all these things in your evening mediation, what a
blessed thing it is to feel "the hand of the Lord" upon you making your conscience tender, not allowing you to play with sinas though it were a trifle, but assuring you, by a gentle pressure, that all your sin is put away through the great AtoningSacrifice of Christ Jesus your Lord and Savior!
It seems to me that evening is also a very blessed time for feelings of gratitude. How many are God's thoughts concerningus during a single day? When we rose this morning, I suppose that most, if not all of us, found that our food and raimenthad been provided for us. We have been busy all day and have had just enough strength to get through our work. We have beenpreserved, perhaps, in the midst of temptations to which others have yielded. Where they have stumbled and fallen, we havebeen graciously upheld! And now at evening we are thinking of the many mercies which "the hand of the Lord" has bestowed uponus during the day. If we are delivered from some accident, we say what a merciful Providence it was that we escaped-yet weare apt to forget the merciful Providence when there is no accident! I have heard of a father who, in the days when therewere no railways, needed to see his son who lived a long way off. They agreed to meet at a place half-way between their twohouses. Each had to ride about 50 miles. And when they met, the son said to his father, "I have had a very special Providence,for my horse stumbled three times yet it did not fall." "Well," said the father, "I also have had a very special Providence,for my horse did not stumble once, all the way." This was quite as notable a Providence as the son had experienced, but itis one that is often left unnoticed. Our mercies which pass unobserved are probably ten times as numerous as those which weperceive! It is well, therefore, at least at the close of every day, to look back upon all the mercy that has been given tous during the day-and to realize that "the hand of the Lord" is still upon us in the evening, shielding us from all harm,guiding us in His own good way and providing most generously for all our needs!
Evening is also a special reminder of the evening of life. We sometimes say that we-
"Long for evening to undress, That we may rest with God"-
and to a Christian, dying is very much like going to bed. Being buried is just having our clothes put away while we are asleepin Jesus. Therefore, as evening is a reminder and type of dying, it is especially appropriate for us, then, to feel "the handof the Lord" upon us and to realize that He has brought us there, to the margin of the river, and that He says to us, "Youwill have to cross that river some day, so dip your foot in it, now, and try to get used to dying." Paul wrote to the Corinthians,"I die daily." He was rehearsing his part every day, so that when the time came for him to actually die, he was fully preparedand was not taken unawares. It would be well if we could hear one say, "As I stood by my bedside, and took off my clothes,I felt that if I were now called to put off my body, which is the clothing of my soul, I couldn't do it with as much complacencyas I removed my garments. And when I laid my head upon my pillow and closed my eyes, I felt as easy in the thought of thatbeing my last sleep as I have felt when simply going to my bed." If this is how we are able to talk, we may confidently say,"The hand of the Lord lay upon me in the evening."
I like, too, the thought of this manifestation of God in the evening because the evening is usually the quiet time that isspecially suited to meditation. The morning is the time for action. The day is the time for work. But the evening is the timefor mediation. It is well if we then have the inclination as well as the opportunity for communing with God, though I am afraidthat our hearts are not always ready for this high privilege even when the season is peculiarly favorable for it. May you,dear Friends, feel "the hand of the Lord" upon you every evening-and may you feel it very specially this evening! We are inthe midst of a most gracious work in this congregation. We began with earnest prayer and we are now receiving the blessingthat we have asked at the Lord's hands. During the past week we have had a most blessed fulfillment of that promise, "Whilethey are yet speaking, I will hear." While we have been asking the Lord to bless, He has been blessing! And tonight we wantagain to feel "the hand of the Lord" upon us. When the preacher feels the Lord's hand on him, there is no lack of power orenergy in his sermons! When the Deacons and Elders feel it, there is no lack of attention to the duties of their importantoffices! When the members feel it, there are no dull, lifeless Prayer Meetings! And when any individual Christians feels it,his heart is made to burn within him while his Master talks with him by the way. May it be so with everyone of us!
III. Our third question was to be, WHAT TEACHING IS THERE FOR US IN THIS INCIDENT?
The text seems to me to teach us, first, to look above man. Ezekiel says, "The hand of the Lord was upon me"-not the handof the king, nor the hand of the priest-but the hand of the Lord! The first question with many persons, when the service isover, very often is, "Well, how did you like the minister." But really, dear Friends, that is a very unimportant question-thevital matter is-Did you see Jesus as the preacher sought to lift Him up before you? Was "the hand of the Lord" upon you, pressingyou down to the ground under the weight your many sins and then setting you glorious-
ly at liberty by casting all your sins behind His back into the depths of the sea to be remembered against you no more forever?That is the chief business of our coming together in these great assemblies-that we may be brought into real, close, personalcontact with God and see His power and His Glory in the sanctuary! As for the Preacher, he is of no more account than thelad with the five barley loaves and two small fishes! But if the Master will add His blessing, the multitudes shall be fedspiritually even as the thousands were then fed literally-and He shall have all the Glory! I pray you, dear Friends, neverto be content with a sermon unless it brings you into yet closer fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ and lifts your eyesabove man unto Him to whom you are bid to look!
Then, as you are to look above other men, much more are you to look above yourselves. In one sense, it is hard work to keepa Christian's eyes looking up. But in another sense, it is equally difficult to keep them looking down. You may rake overthe dunghills of your own corruption to try to find something good, but you will only find what Paul calls dung! But if youlook up to the Most High, you will not search in vain for treasures that will endure forever! If you will persist in lookingwithin, look there till you are tired and then do not look any longer. One look at Jesus Christ will remunerate you far betterthan 20 looks at yourself! No doubt there are certain marks and evidences of the Christian life for which it is quite rightto talk, yet it is better to look at the marks of the Savior's wounds and to see the evidences of God's Love manifested inthe Person and work of His well-beloved Son. It is much more profitable to look at the Creator than at the creature. If youmust bring self in at all, let it only be as Ezekiel did when he said, "The hand of the Lord was upon me in the evening."
This text should also encourage us to remember previous Divine visitations. I suppose Ezekiel had often felt the hand of theLord upon him, but this time he recorded it. David called to remembrance former manifestations of God's mercy when he wrote,"O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember You from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, fromthe hill Mizar." Sailors keep a logbook in which they enter the principal incidents of the voyage. And Christian, you oughtto keep a log of your voyage to Heaven! And you should especially record the visitations of God to your soul. There may cometimes when you will not have these visits and then, if you turn to your diary, you will be able to call to remembrance thejoyous seasons of the past-and it will be a great comfort to you to recollect the experiences you passed through on Mizar'shill and Hermon's mount. There are certain occasions that some of us can never forget-and in our dark hours we think of themand say, "Lord, by all that we have felt in the past, we are assured that You will not let us go, but that You will hold usfast to the end."
And to close, I think that this should encourage us in our darkening hours to expect the Light of God's Presence. It was theevening, the sun was going down, but the Sun of Righteousness was still shining upon Ezekiel! The stars began to sparkle inthe heavens, but the promises of God were brighter still! The night was coming on, but the Prophet did not dread it, for althoughhe could not see his Lord's face, he could feel his Lord's hand upon him! It is one of the enjoyments of faith to walk withGod in the dark. It is not the enjoyment of sight because it comes in the evening when strength is declining, and life, itself,is dying out. Ah, that evening will soon come to everyone of us when we shall have to bid farewell to the fond pursuits ofthe day-that "night" of which our Savior said that then, "no man can work." And when that night comes on and we begin to feelits chilly dews settling upon our dying brow. When the hoar-frost of death shall be upon every limb, how blessed it shallbe to have a bright and glowing lamp within our soul which will owe none of its brilliance to sun or moon, but to the LordGod who gives us the Light that shall last forever!
"At evening time it shall be light." In some parts of the world there is no twilight-as soon as the sun sets, night followsimmediately. But here in England our long evenings are a great delight, and certainly so is the long evening of a well spentlife, when you have, to a great extent, finished with the toil and turmoil of earthly service and your soul has a blessedseason of resting, as Bunyan's pilgrims had in the land Beulah until the summons came for them to cross the river and go intothe Presence of the King. It will be a blessed thing to feel the hand of the lord upon us in that evening! And whether itis long or short, all will be well with all who are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ! Even though we have to pass throughthe Valley of the Shadow of Death, we will fear no evil, for He will be with us. His rod and His staff shall comfort us! Andwhen we get to Heaven, we will tell the angels that "the hand of the Lord" was upon us in the morning of our days when wegave our young hearts to the Lord! That His hand was upon us in the noontide of middle life while we were toiling for Himwith all our might! That His hand was upon us in the afternoon helping us still to gather the precious grain into His garner,and that His hand was upon us, as it was upon Ezekiel, in the evening! As the Lord God walked in the Garden of Eden in thecool of the day, so will He be with us in the evening of our lives! And though we must go to bed and sleep in the tomb, weshall awake in His likeness and then shall we be satisfied-and His hand shall
still be upon us in the morning-that morning which will be to us without mourning, that day which shall never have a night-thatblessedness which shall last forever! God grant that this may be the portion of each one of us, for His dear Son's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM92.
Verse 1. It is a good thing to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High. It is good in itself.It is good for those who hear it, but it is especially good for our own hearts to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing praisesunto the name of the Most High. Sometimes when we are very heavy in spirit, if we would take care not to defraud the Lordof the revenue of praise that is due Him, we should find that the readiest way to bring comfort to ourselves is to sing praisesunto His holy name. Brother and Sisters in Christ, it is not very notable work to praise God when all things go well withus-it is far grander work to praise Him when everything seems to be against us! It is because the nightingale sings by nightthat he has such excellence among the birds. And if you and I can praise God in the dark, then we shall find that it is agood thing for ourselves to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises unto the name of the Most High.
2. To show forth Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night [See Sermon #1138, Volume 19-
MORNING AND EVENING SONGS.] Begin the day by setting forth the
Lord's loving kindness. It was His loving kindness that watched over you when you lay unconscious and defenseless and couldnot, therefore, protect yourself. It was His loving kindness that drew wide the curtain of the night, that touched your eyelidsand awakened you out of that sleep which was the image of death and bade you look out upon the rising sun. Therefore takethe key of the morning to open the day, and let it be the golden key of praise! Show forth the Lord's loving kindness in themorning.
And when night comes again, let us then sing of God's faithfulness. We have experienced it through another day, let us praiseHim for it. Now we see how He has borne with us, pardoned us, preserved us, supplied our needs and continued to educate usthroughout another day. Let us, therefore, praise and bless His holy name and so close the day and commit ourselves to sleepagain under His Divine protection.
3. Upon an instrument often strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. Under the old dispensation,instrumental music seemed more congruous than it does now with the spiritual worship into which we have been introduced. Ifwe must ever have instrumental music in our worship, let it be the same-the very same as David had. And then I, for one, thoughI should still think it we going back to the old dispensation long since superseded, would put up with it! I could never getmuch further than that, I think, for what instrument is there that is equal to the human voice? What music can be comparedwith it? All other sound is but the poor attempt of man to rival the creation of his God-but the human voice is full of charmingmelodies and harmonies! And if it is controlled by a true heart, there is nothing like it even to our ears, while it seemsto me that it must be far more acceptable to God than the product of mere mechanism.
4. For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work: I will triumph in the works of Your hands. There is a blessed verseto come from the heart and mind of a happy man who is praising God and who looks on all the works of the Lord in Creation,Providence, and Redemption-and makes them all the subject of his joyous song!
5. O LORD, how great are Your works! And Your thoughts are very deep. There is little that we know of the thoughts of Godexcept as we gather them from His works or learn them from His Word, "for what man knows the things of a man, save the spiritof man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God." It is by Divine Revelation that wemust know the thoughts of God-and the more we know of them, the more shall we realize that they are very deep.
6. A brutish man knows not; neither does a fool understand this. He looks at Nature and as he sees its varied operations.He observes certain eternal laws, as he calls them, but he does not see the power at the back of those laws which makes thelaws potent for the government of the world! No, he lives and walks where God has displayed His power to the fullest, yethe fails to see Him! It would be a strange proceeding for anyone to go into an artist's house and look at his pictures andhis sculptures and yet never to think of him-but this is what the brutish man does with regard to the works of God, and withregard to God Himself!
7. When the wicked spring as the grass-Numerous, fresh, vigorous-
7. And when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed forever That is the end to which theywill surely come, no matter how much they boast, nor how they grow and flourish till they seem like the grass in the meadow,to cover everything so that you can go nowhere without seeing them! Yet "they shall be destroyed forever."
8. But You, LORD, are Most High forevermore. The Psalmist began by calling the Lord, Most High, and now he says that He is"Most High forevermore." Yes, this is our joy that God never passes away-He abides forever. Myriads of the ungodly have comeand gone. Empires of wickedness have risen to great power and in due time have passed away like dreams-but we can still say,with the Psalmist, "You, Lord, are Most High forevermore."
9. 10. For, lo, Your enemies, O LORD, for, lo, Your enemies shall perish as the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. Butmy horn have You exalted like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil [See Sermon #1649, Volume
28-FRESHNESS.] The Believer, though he is very weak in his own
consciousness, and utterly insignificant in his own esteem, shall receive fresh power from God! And when the wicked melt away,he shall grow stronger and stronger.
11. My eyes shall also see my desire on my enemies, and my ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me.The translators put in the words, my desire. In both cases they are printed in italics to show that they are not in the original.No doubt the Psalmist means that his eyes should see the end of his enemies and his ears should hear of their total overthrow.
12. The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. The palm tree flourishes amidstthe desert sunshine, growing straight upright towards Heaven without a branch that deviates to the right or the left and bearingits great masses of fruit as near Heaven as ever it can! It is a fine type of Christian life and growth and fruitfulness!A Christian should also be "like a cedar in Lebanon," firmly rooted in his appointed place and defying the winter's snowswhich threaten to bury him out of sight.
13. Those that are planted in the House of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our Lord. Like trees planted in the courtyard,screened and protected, such are true Believers! God is their defense and they are screened within the court of the Lord'sHouse.
14. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing. When Christians decay, they shall stillbe fruitful. They shall not feel as so many others do, that their age is a cure-it shall be to them a blessing, ripening themfor eternity, and it shall be a blessing to all by whom they are surrounded.
15. To show that the LORD is upright: He is my rock. Can each one of you say that concerning the Lord, "He is my rock, myfoundation, my refuge, my shelter"?
15. And there is no unrighteousness in Him. Say that when you have lost the dearest one you ever knew! Say that when yourproperty has melted like the hoar frost in the morning. Say that when every bone in your body is aching and some fell diseaseis hastening you to an early grave! "There is no unrighteousness in Him." How long have you known Him? If it is 70 years,or more than that, He has never been unfaithful to you, nor allowed a single promise of His to fail! Write this down as thetestimony of the experience of all God's people, "There is no unrighteousness in Him."